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“Child in the Nest”: Children as Agents and Patients in Pharaonic Egyptian Rituals

Lecture | November 3 | 5-7 p.m. | 254 Barrows Hall

Kasia Szpakowska, Swansea University, Wales

Near Eastern Studies

Children are a ubiquitous feature in Ancient Egyptian tomb scenes, where their role is sometimes described as passive (acting as offering bearers) and sometimes active (as mourners). Less visible is their role in household religious activities performed on behalf of the living. The young were thought to be vulnerable to the persistent onslaught of ailments, diseases, and malignant demonic entities, necessitating a range of protective spells and paraphernalia. Children could also participate in household rituals or act as malignant manifestations themselves. This presentation explores the role of children as patients and agents of religious activity in pre-Hellenistic Egypt, particularly in rituals for the living.

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